Bird-watching tours in the Papuan rainforest are an exciting experience for the endemic Bird of Paradise lover. This easternmost and largest island in Indonesia is rich in biodiversity. Papua is home to over 710 bird species, including the birds-of-paradise, cassowary, sulfur-crested cockatoo, kingfishers, Papuan hornbills, or Blyth’s hornbills, Papuan pitta, western crowned pigeon, and many more.
Birds-of-paradise, or locally known as Cendrawasih, is the icon of Papua New Guinea. 26 out of the world’s 42 species of birds-of-paradise are found in this region, and six species are Papuan endemics. Birds of paradise are best known for the beautiful array of feathers that are present on the male birds of paradise, which the male bird of paradise uses to attract the attention of the surrounding female birds of paradise.
Papua Bird Watching Tour Spots
All of our West Papua birding spots are located in a remote area within the pristine wilderness. Our bird-watching tour program in the lower mountains of Mount Arfak and Raja Ampat provides excellent birding experiences. Even though it’s not a 100% guarantee as they are wild animals and not always predictable, these areas offer a high chance of bird sightings.
Arfak Bird of Paradise at Susnguakti Forest
Susnguakti is a rainforest area in the south of Manokwari city, located at an altitude of 0–600 m above sea level. The watching targets in this area are: Lesser Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus), King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius), Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Beautiful Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus pulchellus), Spangled Drongo, Common Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea), etc. Susnguakti is not only suitable for bird watching, but it is also suitable for insect observation.
Please be aware that there is no proper accommodation available in this area. The base accommodation is a jungle hut. Dome tents, mattresses, and pillows are provided.
Waigeo Island Birding, Raja Ampat
Waigeo Island is the largest island in the Raja Ampat archipelago. Raja Ampat is a group of islands comprising over 1,500 small islands located at the western tip of West Papua. The name Raja Ampat, Four Kings, represented four major islands in the archipelago: Waigeo, Misol, Batanta, and Salawati. Raja Ampat is known to have the richest marine biodiversity on earth; it is the home of 75% of the world’s marine species, including over 550 species of coral, 1,427 fish species, and more than 700 different types of mollusks. Not only underwater, but wildlife and landscapes are equally breathtaking. Waigeo Island is home to Wilson birds-of-paradise and red birds-of-paradise.
DAY 1: MANOKWARI-ARFAK MOUNTAIN
- Arrive in Manokwari, West Papua.
- Meet and greet with your birding expert guide to the coastal area of the Arfak range. Our destination is the Susnguakti forest. It is a lower montane forest in the eastern region of the Arfak range. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to reach our destination. The car is usually operated by villagers to transport people and agricultural goods to the city.
- Arriving at the entrance path of the forest, we still have to continue our trip on foot for an hour to our jungle hut. The slopes are steep. Please wear hiking boots.
- Arriving at the jungle hut, local guides will make a fire to boil water for making coffee and tea, as well as preparing food. They will also prepare dome tents, mattresses, and pillows.
- After having tea and coffee with some biscuits, we will explore the surrounding forest near our base camp.
- Have dinner at around 19.00.
- After dinner, we will do a night walk in the forest to find cuscus possums and other nocturnal animals.
- Return at around 22:00 to sleep.
- Accommodation plan: tent or guest house
DAY 2: BIRDING IN ARFAK MOUNTAIN
- Wake up at 5:00 to have breakfast.
- At 05.30 am, we will start walking to the birding site of Lesser Birds of Paradise. Several male Lesser Birds of Paradise begin to call their female counterparts at approximately 06.00. They will compete with one another to win the hearts of their female birds by performing a courtship dance.
- At 9:00 am, continue the birding tour to a higher-elevation forest of the Susnguakti forest to watch the King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius).
- At 11 a.m., return to our jungle huts.
- Have our lunch and take a rest for a while, or take a bath at a river near the jungle huts. There is no toilet in the middle of the forest; we could use the small river near our basecamp, whose water is flowing into the ground again. The river does not flow into the sea.
- At 15.00, hike to a higher-elevation forest to watch the Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus) and other birds such as Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Beautiful Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus pulchellus), Spangled Drongo, Common Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea), etc.
- At 18.00, return to our basecamp to take a shower and have dinner.
- At 20.30, we do another night walk to find cuscus possums, ground brown skinks, and Papua Dragon Lizards.
- At around 22.30, we will return to our huts to sleep.
- Accommodation plan: tent or guest house
DAY 3: ARFAK-MANOKWARI
- Wake up early in the morning to find birds of paradise that we haven’t seen well. It could be Lesser BOPs or Magnificent Riflebirds.
- Then, we will have a tour to a nearby river in the forest to find the Great Cuckoo Dove or Azure Kingfisher; hopefully, the Common Paradise Kingfisher will also show up.
- After an early lunch at 11 a.m., we will pack our things and slowly walk back to the main road again. A short visit to a coastal village at the foot of the mountains will allow us to see how local people live their daily lives. Our local guide will show how to use a traditional match (made of bamboo, pebbles, and palm fiber) to make fire.
- Return to Manokwari city at around 15.00.
- Transfer to the Swiss Bell Hotel Manokwari for dinner and overnight.
DAY 04: MANOKWARI-SORONG-WAISAI-RAJA-AMPAT
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Transfer to the airport to catch your flight to Sorong.
- Arrive in Sorong and continue to catch a public ferry for a 2-hour journey to Waisai Island (Raja Ampat).
- Transfer to the Hamu Eco Lodge or similar for rest and overnight.
DAY 05: THE RED BIRD OF PARADISE IN SAPOKREN
- Early in the morning, we drive to Sapokren Village, the starting point for the Red Bird of Paradise viewing spot.
- In addition to the red bird of paradise, Wilson’s red bird of paradise, parrots, hornbills, cockatoos, and kingfishers can be spotted. The male red bird of paradise begins the performance to attract females from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Other birds endemic to West Papua can also be spotted.
- We then walk down to Sapokren village. Visit the village, then return to the accommodations for lunch.
- In the afternoon, we will do a soft hike in the Sapokren village area to spot other endemic birds.
- Accommodation plan: Hamu Eco Lodge or similar
DAY 06: WILSON BIRD OF PARADISE (B,L,D)
- We kick off the day by hiking to a bird-watching spot to observe Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. Wilson’s BOP is rather small. Males can reach a length of 16 centimeters (6.3 in) (21 cm including central rectrices) and a weight of 53–67 g, while females can reach a length of 16 cm but a weight of 52–60 g.
- Return to the guest house for lunch.
- Free of activity in the afternoon.
- Accommodation: Hamu Eco Lodge or similar
DAY 07: DEPARTURE
- Transfer to the harbor to catch the public ferry to Sorong.
- Arrive in Sorong and transfer to the airport to catch your flight to your next destination.
END of your trip
- Bird Watching Tours in Papua
- Papua Bird Watching Tour Spots
- Arfak Bird of Paradise at Susnguakti Forest
- Waigeo Island Birding, Raja Ampat
- All transfer
- Birding guide (English-speaking)
- Full board meals on Mt. Arfak
- Entry permit to Papua
- All entry fees and donations
- Accommodations listed on the program
- All activities mentioned in the program